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Weekly Wrap Up

March 31, 2014
I wanted to wrap up my week this time by stating what I'm thankful for.

*I'm thankful that I got some great coupons in the mail!  I got to go shopping, but I only spent $2 because I got a free travel sized item from Bath and Body Works and a $10 birthday gift card sent to me from Victoria's Secret.

*I'm so relieved that I did not get sick and hope I didn't just jinx myself.  On Friday, a student I subbed for got violently ill in the lunch line.  I'll spare you the nasty details, but let's just say I had to hold the trash can for her.

*I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I didn't gain any weight this week.  I didn't lose any, but I really thought I gained!

*I'm thankful that my boyfriend cooked me some spaghetti and chicken last night and brought home some subs for us from a new place in town earlier in the week.

*I do usually prefer closing shifts at the movies because those ones tend to be less stressful, but I must admit that it has kind of been nice opening and having my nights off.

*Even though I worked a lot this week, I still found some time to Netflix it up with Breaking Bad.  I'm obsessed with that show even though at random points throughout the day I'll think about Tuco's grill and start gagging.  #scarredforlife

* I'm thankful subbing went well on Thursday.  I thought a kid got seriously injured at recess because he came in the door with blood smeared all over his face.  Before I could even ask, he told me that he lost his tooth while he was out playing and that he swallowed it.  Haha!

* I got scheduled with two of my work buddies, and shifts always fly by when I work with the two of them.

* I'm pleased that I found this cool jewelry organizer for bracelets.  It's made with black velvet, seems sturdy, and was reasonably priced on Amazon for $19.45.  I feel like I will wear my bracelets much more often now that they are in plain sight and on display.  Plus, they won't get tangled up with my other jewelry in my jewelry box.  I really love this bracelet organizer and now want an earring and necklace organizer, too.

Looking forward, I'm thankful that I get to meet up with Rachael again this week!  I'm so lucky that I live nearby one of my blogging buddies.  Also, I'm ecstatic that I'll be on VACATION this week!!  I haven't had a week off since last May when I went to South Africa, and that was on a study tour.  It will be so nice to just do exactly what I want to do and to catch up with my sister!

What is something that you're looking forward to?

Here are the rules to the link up:

1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts. 

4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

Ameliorer la Vie

Our co-host for the week is Kat.  Please follow her via Bloglovin or GFC to link up with us this week.

April Wallet Watch

March 27, 2014
In January, I participated in the January Spending Freeze hosted by Life According to Steph, Luck Fupus, Clueless With Cash, and with Love, Fun, & Football.  That time around, the rules were that you were not supposed to spend cash on items or on outings that were not already planned and budgeted for.  Because of January's spending ban, I was able to save hundreds of extra dollars and start a savings account.  When Steph announced that she would be doing a spending ban in April, I got excited, but then I remembered that I'll be going on vacation in April.  It's also my birthday month, so I have already made some plans for that, too, so much to my dismay, I thought that I wasn't going to be able to participate in the spending challenge.  When I continued reading Steph's post, I realized that I could still go on vacation and have a lot of fun, but that I could also set some realistic goals for myself so that I don't blow a ton of money.  That's the best part of this spending challenge--you are able to make up your own rules!  Plus, I won't be on vacation for the entire month of April!

Below are the rules I've created for myself this April.  Anything extra I'm able to save in April will go directly towards my student loan debt.

1) Only go on one major shopping spree while on vacation.  If I said I wasn't going to shop at all while on vacation, that would be a lie because my sister and I have talked about going shopping for quite awhile.  The good news is that we both decided not to go to Charlotte together during this trip since it is far from where my sister lives.  Charlotte is where I think I would have blown a lot of $$.

2) Save 50% of birthday money received.  I usually get $ from my parents, grandparents, and uncle, so I'm going to save half and spend half.  That way, I can still get something nice for myself, but can also be responsible about handling my debt!

3) Do not go out to eat every day on vacation.  I know my sister and I will be heading to some restaurants, but that can add up really quickly and we might have even MORE fun creating a meal together.  We talked about making some recipes that we've pinned.  I also think a picnic lunch would be nice when we go to Emerald Isle.  We could be outside enjoying the atmosphere and save cash.

4) Do not do ANY online shopping.  Online shopping is my weakness.  With the click of a few buttons, I can find so many items that I think I need.  What really gets me are the e-mails that companies send out announcing their sales.  Just today, I got a buy one item, get the next 50% off from Maurices.  It was so tempting!!  I might just unsubscribe from all of those mailing lists so that I don't cave and buy something.

5) Book more subbing jobs.  So far I only have two subbing jobs lined up for April.  I would like to book more and will also have to wait by the phone in the AM and take those calls.  In the past, I have not had to do this much and I'll admit that it kind of stinks, but if it's going to boost my income, so be it!

Will you be participating in this spending challenge?  If so, let me know in my comments section and we can tweet each other for encouragement!

Confessions About Subbing

March 26, 2014
*When I first headed in and filled out my paperwork, I was concerned that I wouldn't get any calls to sub.  YEAH, RIGHT.  In the county that I live in, there are a ton of school districts I could sub at, but I just narrowed it down to two districts.  The reason why I chose those particular districts is because I did my student teaching in those districts and liked those ones the best out of all of my student teaching experiences.  I get a call literally almost every single day and always am turning down jobs because one district will call me when I'm subbing at the other one or when I have to work my other job at the movies.  Sometimes I turn down jobs just because if I didn't I would never, ever get a day off since I have to work almost every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the movies.

*I don't always learn all the kids' names by the end of the day.  Of course I know all the names of the kids in classrooms that I sub in frequently, but there have been a lot of classes that I have just subbed for once.

*I know that education is not a very lucrative field in general, but I was kind of appalled at how little subs make in a day!  At the districts I work at I get $70-$75 per day.  I'm not knocking the schools I work for at all...that is standard sub pay for the area.  I just can't believe that subs get about $10 an hour.  I normally show up 1/2 hour early, too...just because I like to go over all the plans ahead of time so that I know what I'm doing or can get my questions answered.

*It is always appreciated when a teacher leaves me "extra's" for if we finish an activity earlier than anticipated.

*I so wish the secretaries would tell me the grade and teacher right away when asking me whether or not I'm available.  Usually they just ask, "Would you be able to sub tomorrow?"  If I have had no days off that week and have to sub a subject that I don't really like to teach (PE, for example), I'd want to say no.  If it's this precious group of 2nd graders that I've fallen in love with, I would jump at the chance, but how do you say, "Well, I can sub only for certain classes, but not for ones I don't like."??  You can't.

*Subbing so much has made me very aware of what type of information I will be including in lesson plans when I have to get a sub one day.  I've sent kids home on the wrong busses because the teachers didn't update their lists.  A list of student's medical conditions/allergies should also be mandatory.  A kid brought in peanut butter crackers for a snack, and I freaked out because I didn't know if everyone could eat them.  When I teach 5 and 6 year olds, they don't always know about what busses they should be going on (especially if it changes throughout the week) and about their allergies.

*I try to follow the teacher's lesson plan as much as I can, but doing so much subbing has taught me that sometimes I just have to go with the flow.

*I feel like I can tell what type of teacher I'm subbing for (most of the time) by the way the class behaves, by the lesson plans, and by how the classroom looks.  I felt a little bad for this one class because the room just didn't seem inviting and the walls were bare with no student work displayed anywhere.  There wasn't even a map to reference and the class was studying about explorers from Europe!!  On the other side of the spectrum, another teacher had such an amazing jungle themed room!  It was full of learning tools, literature, word walls, and resources for student learning.

*It's the best when teachers leave me a list of reliable students/good helpers.  I don't want to ask the class clown a genuine question I have about their daily routine.

*Leaving me a bunch of worksheets to do with the kids isn't doing me any favors!  I think teachers do this because they think it will be easier on a sub, but I'd rather set up centers or actually teach lessons.  I mean, I get why a lot of teachers would leave a bunch of paperwork for the class...It's because there is no guarantee about whether or not the teacher filling in for them is licensed or not.  Some subs may not have had much experience with kids or even in the field of education.  (In my state, anyone with a four year Bachelor's degree in any field is able to sub.)  I do find that my days go much more smoothly when I am able to just to do the class's normal routine with them.  After doing a bunch of worksheets all day, the kids get bored, I'm bored, and that's when more behavior problems start!

*Subbing has been beneficial to me because I've dealt with a very wide variety of students since I've gotten to work in so many different classrooms.  Also, if a lesson or classroom management trick goes really well, I'll make a note of it and keep it in mind so that I can use it in the future.  One teacher told me that if the class was doing a good job, I could give them all a handful of "diamonds" to encourage them.  The diamonds were clear beads--is that not the cutest?

*Subbing has taught me that I'm a FIRM BELIEVER IN RECESS TIME.  At one school I sub for, the students get two 15 minute recesses, and one 30 minute recess.  At a different school, the kids only get one 15 minute recess all day.  Personally, I'd rather work over an extra 1/2 hour or 15 minutes if it means the kids get to go out and play.  They need breaks and time to be active and socialize!  Even as a graduate student, I stopped listening to professors if I had to go a long time without a break!  As a sub, recess time gives me a chance to switch gears and get the supplies ready for the next lesson.

*When I sub I kind of have to dehydrate myself because if I have to go to the bathroom, who is going to be in there with the kids?

*I loathe when a teacher's behavior plan does not reward positive behavior.  Personally, I love this clip up/clip down chart.  It's much more flexible and it shows students that even if they have a bad morning, they could still possibly have a good afternoon because it gives them chances to change their behavior.  One of my cooperating teachers used this chart for her class, and she would even clip them off the chart and wear the students' clips on her clothes if they were doing an amazing job.

* I never know whether or not teachers would like me to do their grading.  Some teachers I've talked to love it, but other teachers don't like it because they grade a very specific way and do 1/2 credit and whatnot.

Linking up with Kathy today!

What are your confessions about your job?

Words and Gestures I've Picked Up From Others

March 25, 2014
What can I say, I am a product of my environment and I tend to pick up gestures and phrases from those that I am around.  Here are a few examples:

**Abbreviating Words: This comes from my sister Denise who regularly says things like, "Do you want to watch a moo?" or "Let's go downstairs to the bay."  The ones I tend to say the most are "stu" for "stupid" and "ridic" for ridiculous.  At first, I thought it was funny that she spoke in this manner, so I started to talk like this around my friends and now a bunch of them have started doing this.  It's catchy, I tell ya!  I tend to turn my abbreviating on and off, and use the abbreviated words around those I feel close with, but say the full word around people I don't know that well.  However, sometimes I'll catch myself using an abbreviated "word" around strangers who then look at me like I'm stu.  Oops.

**"Y-y-y-y-yeah."  I had about 11 American and Canadian co-workers that I taught with at a private language school in Korea.  One of them started saying "Y-y-y-y yeah" and somehow, by the end of our contracts every single one of us was saying this except no one knew who originally started this!  I still find myself saying this from time to time, and when I do, I have to smile because it reminds me of my old pals.

**"All righty." and "There's that for ya."  I picked up both of these from working at the movie theater.  My friend Autumn would say, "There's that for ya," every time she would put something down for a customer. She didn't even notice she did it until I pointed it out, and I brought it up because I noticed that I was starting to do it!  Another co-worker says "all righty" all the time, and I find myself saying that, too.  A customer will tell me what they want and then I'll respond with an "all righty", go and get their order, put it down and say, "There's that for ya."  A lot of people at work do it that way since we've all worked so closely with each other for so long.  I really want to try to limit or just eliminate the "all righty" because it reminds me of Ace Ventura Pet Detective and Trey from Sex and the City, haha.

**"Buttrageous." I used this word a lot in my early 20's, courtesy of my friend Mandi.  "Did you see her outfit?  It is completely buttrageous!"  I think my usage of this word has dwindled down, but on rare occasions I'll say it out of habit if I see something heinously ugly.

**Italian gestures. I have always used a lot of gestures when I talk, so when I went to Italy, I fit right in.  During my time in Italy, I picked up even more gestures that are distinctly Italian. My personal favorite is the, "What in God's name are you saying?" gesture, which you can check out here.  This gesture was the perfect accompaniment to the Italian phrase, "Ma che dici!?"

**The peace sign in photos.  My Korean students would flash the peace sign in pictures and so did many other Koreans that I came into contact with.  Of course that rubbed off on me and every other teacher I worked with.  When in Seoul...  Upon returning to America, I had to consciously try to stop myself from doing the peace sign in my friends' photos!  It's a really hard habit to break!

** "Ratchet."  I never even heard of this until I met Rachael and she said it several times.  It's my new favorite word because frankly there are a lot of ratchet people to appropriately use the word on!  Thanks, Rachael, for the new addition to my vocabulary!

** Bowing.  In Korean culture this is done as a sign of respect.  It was pretty flattering when the parents of kids came in and bowed at me because I was their child's teacher, but after spending time in Korea I also started bowing at older people and at my boss.  I still find myself dipping my head a little to show respect to certain people even though I've been back from Korea for years!

What phrases have you picked up from your friends?

A Little Overworked: Weekly Wrap Up

March 24, 2014
This past week, I was on the go and worked 70 hours between my two jobs.  I am SO looking forward to tomorrow so that I can finally have a day off.  I don't mind working hard, but I do have to admit that I get a bit cranky when I'm overworked, so I'm counting on some R&R time.

Subbing this week went well, except for the fact that there was a fire drill and there was no information on the lesson plan about what to do in case that happened.  I just got the class in order and followed everyone else out the door, which apparently was exactly what I was supposed to do. I'm really glad that I was subbing 1st grade and not kindergarten on the day of the drill.  I feel like some of the kindergartners would have freaked while the alarm was going off, especially with a sub in the room.  In other news, I also got a note from a student and in the note she called me her "Baby Girl."  Ummm, okay?  She wrote, "Baby Girl" all over the note and drew little hearts around the word.  I've never gotten a note like that before from a student, ha!

On Friday before I headed into work, I did get some spring cleaning done.  I ended up giving away over 15 pairs of jeans to Goodwill along with some other items.  There was no way I was ever going to wear those jeans again, so hopefully someone will get use out of them.  My next mission is to go through my beauty products to get rid of expired items along stuff I'll never use.

On Saturday after work, I got to meet up with Rachael!  We headed to a wine bar where we were the youngest ones, which is not an everyday occurrence for me so I enjoyed the moment. I had a flight of sweet wine from Italy along with some delicious flatbread with brie, pears, and caramelized onions. It sounds weird, but it was so tasty.  I had a really good time chatting with Rachael and talking about blogging--she really cracks me up!  We talked about our favorite bloggers, Blogcation, and of course about our Weekly Wrap Up link up. Then we headed back to her place and hung out for a bit.

I hope you're able to link up with us this week!

Here are the rules to the link up:

1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts. 

4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

Ameliorer la Vie

Target Beauty Box Reveal

March 23, 2014
I first found out about the Target Beauty Box by reading Cookie's review on one that she had received. You guys know that I'm a little addicted to beauty boxes in the first place, and when I saw that the Target box was only $5, I decided to keep my eyes peeled for when they would offer one again!  When Cookie posted on her Facebook page that another beauty box was available for purchase on Target.com, I headed over to see what the contents would be.  Unlike most other subscription boxes, this one is offered sporadically, and is currently not offered every month, although I think a lot of people would sign up for it if it was because at just $5, it really is quite a steal, in my opinion.

Unlike many other beauty boxes, Target reveals every item in the box up front, so there are no surprises, which can be good or bad, depending on whether or not y'all (I'm practicing for Savannah) like the element of surprise.  Personally, I saw the Toni & Guy Sea Salt texturising spray, and just that item alone was enough to make me want to buy the whole box.  Since Target sends the same box to everyone and there were no variations besides that different colors of the Smoochies lip glosses were sent out, I knew that I would be receiving a bottle.  It's always a bummer when you sign up for a box based on a couple spoilers and then get a variation of a box that contains none of the items you hoped for.  With the Target box, what you see is what you get.  Although it's no longer possible to purchase this box, Target still has their Beauty Box page up if you're curious.

When ordering the box, there were some complications.  It is advertised that shipping would be free, but then it charged my credit card $5.95 for the shipping.  I ended up having to call and get it taken off because I didn't want to pay $10.95 for a box that is advertised as $5 with no extra shipping charge.  My friend bought the box with her Target credit card and then didn't have to worry about having to call in, since it automatically gave her the free shipping.  I would have done the same if I had a Target credit card, but I don't have one.  Another issue I came across was that there was a delay in shipping.  I was supposed to get my box by last week, but it didn't arrive until a full week later.  It's not that big of a deal, but everyone was posting their reviews and I was still waiting on my box.  It finally arrived this Wednesday.

It came with:

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo: "Give hair a rejuvenating boost with this paraben-and colorant-free formula made with natural tapioca to instantly absorb excess oil with less residue."  I was pleased to see that a dry shampoo was included in the box because I have only ever tried one other dry shampoo before, which was Serge Normant's Meta Revive Dry Shampoo.  There were mixed reviews out on that particular dry shampoo, but having the Herbal Essences will give me something to compare it to.  I don't use dry shampoo that often, so buying a full sized bottle, would probably be wasteful.  Having the 1.7 oz bottle included in this box suits me just fine!

Jergens BB Body Cream Light: "Finally, a multi-tasking beauty cream in a quick-drying formula that goes on sheer and delivers visible results in just 5 days."  Interesting...I haven't ever used BB body cream before, but feel like this is just what I need for my upcoming trip to North Carolina, since I'll probably be wearing some dresses.  My legs haven't been in the sunlight since last summer, and I'm a naturally pale person to begin with, so let's just say that right now they are looking pretty ghastly.  It's tinted to help mask some minor imperfections.  I swatched it on my leg, and luckily it does match my skin tone and is supposed to be suitable for "all light skin tones."  Anyone with medium to dark skin would find this item useless.

L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara: "Stretch and lengthen lashes for a fluttery, winged-out look with this unique mascara formula and revolutionary asymmetrical Butterfly brush." Black mascara isn't that exciting to me, but I am actually running low on them now since they go bad so quickly, so I will be getting some use out of this product.  I'm not going to open it right away since as soon as mascara is opened, it starts going bad.  I feel like the shape of the wand would help to prevent clumping and I'm glad that the product seems like it will help with adding volume to my lashes instead of just lengthening them.

Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray: "Want beachy hair without hitting the surf? Spray from root to tip for salty, sultry texture and subtle, windswept waves."  I have a couple of sea salt texturising sprays already and love how they make my hair look!  My hair is naturally wavy, but will sometimes lose its waviness throughout the day, resulting in limp looking locks.  I've found that the sea salt sprays I've been using add waves to my hair and also keep my hair looking wavier for longer.  This is a great spring/summer product.  What I like about it specifically is that it feels light and doesn't weigh my hair down.  I also love the way it smells, but do have to warn you that judging from the ingredients it's not a very natural product.

Covergirl Smoochies Sizzle Gloss: "Pucker up. Sheer color meets sizzling shimmer in a moisturizing formula that's always stunning, never sticky." When I saw that this lip gloss was full of sparkles, I was a little turned off, but once I applied the gloss I was a bit relieved to see that the sparkles are not as obvious as I thought they would be.  It's true what they say about the formula--my lips don't feel sticky at all.  I just wish I had a tinted gloss instead of this clear, sparkily one, but I'll still be using this, though it's not something I would have picked out for myself.

What are your thoughts on Target's Beauty Box?  Yay or nay?

#BFC Mug Swap Reveal

March 18, 2014
When Kallie @ But First, Coffee announced that she would be hosting a mug swap, I knew that I would sign up right away!  The first lady that I was paired with didn't respond to me until it was almost the date of the deadline to mail the mugs, so Nancy @ Neatly-Packaged graciously offered to be my partner *and* buy for her other mug swap partner.  Isn't she the sweetest?  I have a feeling Nancy and I will be in touch for a long time.  We have a mutual love of the French culture, and she is easy going, amusing, and fun to talk to!

Below is the reveal of the mug she got me!  It was hard to get all the words in the picture, but in case you can't tell, it reads, "Don't just have one. Have a latte!"  She also got me a cute coaster with French on it.  Now all of the coasters I own are in French, alors c'est parfait! :)

Since Nancy and I enjoyed getting to know each other, we decided to "interview" each other and then post the answers on our respective blogs in order to introduce each other to our readers.  Everyone, meet Nancy!

Q: What piece of blogging advice to you have for other bloggers?
A: I would say to blog about whatever you want. My favorite bloggers are the ones who keep it "real" and talk about the taboo and not taboo topics.

Q: Where were some of the places that you've lived at in your lifetime?
A: I have lived in Germany, Las Vegas, and San Antonio. All fun places :)

Q: What are some of your favorite quotes?
A:  "I write to taste life twice"- I saw this on Pinterest and it spoke to me :)
"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... then find someone whose life has given them vodka and have a party"- Ron White, I LOVE his comedy!

Q: Describe one of your biggest accomplishments.
A: I would say it would be when I learned to speak French. English isn't my first language and for whatever reason I can't write or read very well in Spanish. So when I started taking French, I learned everything. The grammar, the structures, the weird rules that come with some words, pronunciation, all of it. I feel I know French much better than I know my two native languages.

Q: What do you love the most about your fiance?
A: I love that he is my rock. He doesn't bullsh*t me. He doesn't support me in everything I do because sometimes I do stupid things. He protects me if he thinks it will hurt my feelings. He stands up for me. He wants to make sure that we have a good life together. Pretty much love everything about him :)

I really recommend that you check out Nancy's blog and that you go follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin, or Pinterest.  You won't be sorry!

Weekly Wrap Up #7

March 17, 2014
Whew! I had a very busy week this past week and worked six days.  This coming week I don't get any days off, which kind of stinks, but I'm the one that agreed to sub a lot and work my manager hours on top of them.  My paychecks should be decent, so I'll just have to keep that in mind when I'm feeling tired, which will be on Thursday because I work 15.5 hours that day.  It's okay because at the end of the week, I'll be rewarded with my blate at the wine bar with Rachael

In my spare time this past week, I watched some Breaking Bad on Netflix to relax, and now I'm done with all of Season 2.  I have to say that I'm addicted! 

This week I also received my #BFCMugswap mug from Nancy.  I'll have a little reveal post later in the week, but I love what she got me and getting to know her has been so fun.  She's the first blogger that I ever had random texting convos with!  In other blogging news, I had the chance to guest post on Kate's blog, where I posted my St. Patrick's Day bucket list.  I hope you're able to check it out, as it's only the second guest post I've ever done.  Does anyone else get a little nervous doing guest posts?

Despite that I was busy, I did squeeze in some dates with my boyfriend, and we went out for Greek food one day and later in the week we went to a Chinese restaurant.  At the Greek place we went to, the waitress convinced me to order a slice of white chocolate raspberry cake.  (They carry regular desserts as well as traditional Greek ones.)  Ummm, that cake was DELICIOUS.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for my waist line), my boyfriend made me split it with him...haha...I get possessive over desserts because I have such a terrible sweet tooth.

All this food-talk naturally reminded me of exercising.  Like I confessed on Wednesday, I hadn't been very active in the past few weeks at all.  This week, I did exercise twice on my elliptical, which is an improvement from last week, but I'd still like to work out at least 3-4 days a week.  I just can't wait until it gets nicer out so that I'm not stuck inside on my elliptical all the time.  I like variety and changes of scenery are always a plus.  I'm looking forward to making use of our local bike trail and additionally hope to maybe go on a couple of hikes like I did in the fall.  

My sister and I caught up this week and talked about my upcoming trip to North Carolina.  She also brought up how I should move down South.  Again.  "Who do you want to celebrate holidays with every year?"  "We could start our own traditions!"  She obviously doesn't keep very good tabs on me or else she would know that I'm convinced Savannah would be a good fit for my personality.  My sis and I both have started countdowns because we are so eager to get to see each other again!  We each came up with a few things we'd like to do when I visit.  I suggested kayaking, and she said that her husband's friends own a set, so she is going to try to persuade them to let us borrow some.  She talked about wanting to go bike riding on Emerald Isle and then I brought up going to Bellamy Mansion and Airlie Gardens in Wilmington.  I told her that she can be in charge of most of our plans because now she's "a local."

I am excited to see what everyone else did this week/weekend.  Don't forget to link up below!

1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts.
4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

** If you would like to tweet about the link up, feel free to use #weeklywrapup.

Ameliorer la Vie

Fair Treasure Review for March 2014 + $50 Starbucks Giveaway

March 15, 2014
The last of the three Fair Treasure boxes my sister ordered me for Christmas arrived earlier in the week.  If you're curious about what I received in January's box or in February's box, head on over and read my reviews.

Just to reiterate what I've stated in previous posts, Fair Treasure is a monthly subscription service that includes 2-3 fair trade items in each box.  The cost per box is $35 a month or $95 for three months, which is 10% cheaper than the monthly rate.

Unlike the other months, for March there was a theme to the box, which was "The Spring Equinox Box."  The two items I received definitely follow the theme and remind me of spring.

Onto the goods...

*Shesham Butterfly Box from Archana Handicrafts--Value of $7
*Wristlet from Malia Designs--Value of $29

Value: This month's total value is $36, which is only one dollar more than the $35 price of the monthly subscription.  I've noticed that this is pretty typical, but at least the items are always a little bit more than the cost of a one month subscription and not less.

Shesham Butterfly Box:  This wooden box comes all the way from New Delhi, India.  Although it doesn't specifically say anywhere on the information card that this box is hand-carved, I assume that it is.  This box reminds me a bit of a box I already own from Bali that is hand-carved, though the one I have is not shaped like a butterfly.  I think the box is cute, and I'll probably put this on my dresser.  Since there isn't a whole lot of room in the box to store items, I'm thinking that I'll be putting my small collection of studded earrings inside.

Wristlet:  I was surprised to get an item like this in my Fair Treasure box, just because I've never seen any type of purse included before.  Even though the wristlet is a little different, I have to say that I really do like it.  The only other wristlets that I own are very tiny, so this one is more practical since I'd actually be able to fit my wallet, cell phone, and a couple other essentials inside.  The color of the wristlet is very spring-like and I'm sure I'll be wearing it a lot next season.

This product was made in Cambodia and comes from a company (Malia Designs) that uses revenue to support victims of human-trafficking.

Do you like them items in this month's Fair Treasure box?

Also, I wanted to post a reminder to link up your week or weekend in review with Rachael and I on Monday for Weekly Wrap Up!

Ameliorer la Vie

Last but not least, I hope you'll enter the giveaway below.  There is a chance to win a $50 Starbucks gift card!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Stupid Comments People Make About my Height + Some Benefits to Being Tall

March 12, 2014
Being tall has its perks, but also its disadvantages!  Mostly what I dislike about being tall is dealing with some rude comments from other people.  Just so you know, I am 6 feet tall, but I didn't get that tall until I was in 11th grade or so, so I never really faced the bullying that a lot of tall girls go through in school.  Thank goodness for that because if I had been 6 feet in junior high, I have a feeling that it would have been brutal for me, especially since many boys did not go through their growth spurts yet.

A picture from my sister's wedding to illustrate how tall I actually am ...Of course I'm the tallest gal in the wedding party.
Anyway, here is what I have to hear over and over again in life:

* "Hey, Stretch!"  One of my friends called me this, and he is a huge jokester, so I'm pretty sure he was just being playful, but I got kind of bothered by it.  When I told him I didn't really like it, he said,"I can't believe no one ever called you Stretch before!"  Then he proceeded to tell me that his ex-girlfriend was the same height or maybe a little taller than me, and that he didn't have a problem with tall women at all.  I have heard "Stretch" again from other acquaintances, and just try to brush it off because I don't think that they really mean anything by it and are probably just trying to engage in some banter with me.  I would be pissed if someone I didn't know said this to me, though!!  I would never, ever comment on a stranger's size and say, "Hey Shorty!" or "Hey Fatso!"

* "Big Bird."   Okay, so it probably didn't help that I used to wear this bright yellow coat for a few years in my early twenties.  Good thing yellow doesn't look very good on me or I might get more comments like that!

* "You're an Amazon woman."  I picture Amazon women as having a lot of muscles and looking kind of manly, but when I question people about why they've said that, most of them are trying to give me a compliment saying that Amazons are tall, beautiful, and strong women.  Still, if you want to give me a compliment, I could think of about a thousand better ones than, "You are an Amazon."

* "Do you play basketball?"  When I tell people no, they usually respond with, "Oh, then you must play volleyball."  I'm not athletic at all, and this is a stereotype that tall people get constantly have to face because of course most basketball players ARE tall.  My 5'4" friend started getting bothered for me that people would always ask me this, so she started answering, "She doesn't play, but I do!"  Even yesterday when I was subbing, I heard one of the boys whisper, "She is about the same height as Shaq."  For the record, Shaq is 7'1".

* "How tall are you?"  As my tall pal said, "If anyone asks me how tall I am, I'm going to respond and then ask them how much they weigh."  That would be pretty funny!  The worst is when I tell people (and by people I mean MEN) that I am 6'0" and they go, "No you're not because I'm 6'3", and you're taller than me."  What I want to tell them is that I'm sorry that they feel the need to lie about their height, or that they choose to measure themselves by the stickers posted near the doors of gas stations.  Instead,  I just tell them that that's what the doctors have all told me.  I've been measured time and time again, and it always says the same thing.  People at my work kept talking about it, so my former boss actually posted a memo all about my height after she measured me herself!  She wrote in the memo that I was 6'0", that she was 5'10" and that another manager was 5"10" with his 'high heels' (he wore some shoes that added a couple of inches.)  After she posted the memo, I guess she heard our co-workers talking about it saying that they didn't believe I was 6'0" and all we could do was laugh because people will believe what they want to believe.  At least the 5 other workers that saw me getting measured knew the truth!  

* "How tall are your parents?" This question usually comes after a rude comment about my height.  A co-worker told me that I should just answer back that my parents are dead.

* "Is it hard for you to find a boyfriend because you're so tall?"  Really???  You're going to ask a complete stranger this question?  I had a conversation with a customer that went something like this:

Him: "You are so tall.  You are like a giant.  How tall are you?"
Me: "Six feet tall."
Him: "I feel bad for you because there's no way that you could possibly have a boyfriend." (At this point his wife slugged him.)
Me: "Actually, I do."
Him (looking shocked): "Oh, wow."  ::pause::  "Well, how tall is he?"

Seriously!?  I think he thought it was okay to make these comments because it's about height and not weight, but I found him pretty offensive and only answered his idiotic questions because I was at work.

* "Why do you wear heels?"  Truthfully, I don't wear heels that often because I find them uncomfortable, but on occasion, I will wear heels because I like the look of the shoes.  I just don't appreciate the tone of this question because I feel like those who ask it are insinuating that I shouldn't be "allowed" to wear them since I'm tall enough already.

* "Are you standing on something?"  This usually gets asked to me when I'm behind a counter at places that I've worked at.  Once I told a guy that I wasn't, and then he asked if I was wearing heels.  I told him I was not, and he told me he didn't believe me and then kept asking to look at my foot over and over.  He really wouldn't shut up, so I embarrassingly had to show him so he would go away!!!  Good grief!

* "I really like tall girls."  You would think that this would be something I would want to hear, but considering the fact that the men who utter this statement to me are incredibly creepy, no, it is NOT what I want to hear at all.

* "Are you a tranny?"  Okay, I only got asked this once, but this comment really got to me because it happened to me when I was a lot younger.  I was at a bar with my friends, and some guys were trying to flirt with me, and I brushed them off.  I guess that made them mad, because then they started taunting me and asked if I used to be a man.  The friend that was with me assured me that the guys were just mad because I wasn't talking to them, so they said that to me to try to make themselves feel better about the rejection.  I still think that this was probably one of the worst things people have said to me about my height, though.

I now work with a girl who is 4'11" and noticed that people have been saying all sorts of mean things to her about her height, too.  Someone told me that she shouldn't be allowed to work because she could barely see over the register.  Then, another man told me that I should get her a stool and kept laughing over it.  I don't see how people think it is okay to make such hurtful comments!

When I was in my early twenties, I was much more insecure about my height and got upset when people would say these things to me, but now all I want to do is roll my eyes.  I find some a lot of what people say now to be pretty amusing and it just makes me judge them for judging me.  I can't change the way I am, and frankly, there's a lot worse things to be in life than tall!

Since I want to end on a positive note, here's what I like about being tall:

* I can see over most people in a crowd, so I get good views at concerts and other events.
* People always let me ride shotgun, no matter how much I insist that I would be perfectly comfortable in the backseat of a car.
* I instantly bond with other tall girls because they know how it is!  My former boss who was 5'10" told me, "I just liked you right away because you are tall like me."
* My legs are super long.
* People will compliment me on my height and then say that they wished they were taller.
* Weight gain is less noticeable on taller people, meaning that I can gain ten pounds and no one really notices.
* There is an expression in Italian, that goes something like this, "If you are tall, you are already half beautiful."  Meaning, you could be butt-ugly and still be considered half beautiful.

Do people ever give you grief or say obnoxious things about the way you look?


I confess that...

*besides when I exercised on Monday I have been seriously slacking on working out and it is starting to show.  I need to get my butt in gear!

*I was asked to substitute teach today and told the secretary that I was busy, when in fact, I'm not working my other job or subbing at another school.  If I subbed today, I would have had zero days off this week and I already know that I'm probably going to have no days off next week because I'll be subbing five days and working 27 hours a week at the theater.  I don't even feel guilty for taking today off!!

*I've been doing more than my fair share of online shopping and even bought the Pop Sugar Must Have Box for March.  Can someone please host another spending freeze?

*it is rare that I'll write a blog post ahead of time.  I wish I could be more organized and schedule more posts, but I usually just write whenever I feel like it.

*I was annoyed from doing all the dishes the last few times, so I just let them pile up until my boyfriend finally did them.

*I'm counting down the days until I can visit my sister in North Carolina.  We chatted on the phone last night about my upcoming trip and talked about possibly going to Emerald Isle, Wilmington, and to the Outer Banks.

*I noticed that a lot of my friends are way younger than me these days, which is funny because I usually was friends with mostly older people.  I think it just has to do with the fact that many of my older friends have husbands and kids, so we either drifted apart or just don't have a lot of opportunities to hang out like we used to.  I'm not blaming them--I'm just making an observation.

*I think I have slight/moderate OCD or maybe it's just anxiety, but I think that I should probably just refrain from ever lighting candles again.  One time I did leave a candle burning when I left the house, but my boyfriend was home and he caught it.  Now I panic at work and am afraid that I forgot to blow the candle out if I lit one earlier, even though I always do.  I really don't think I'm going to use them anymore!  It's not worth the stress.

*I'm frustrated beyond belief with this weather.  It was 65 degrees yesterday and now it is snowing profusely and we are under a winter storm warning and schools are letting out early!

Linking up today with Kathy!

Weekly Wrap Up #6

March 10, 2014
Last week was actually a great week for me because I got to meet up with four of my friends, and I can hardly ever do that because of scheduling issues.  One of my best friends, whom I hadn't seen since October when we went to the Circleville Pumpkin Festival, recently had a baby girl a few weeks ago.  I knew she was probably busy recovering and getting used to her new life as a mom, so I gave her some time before I asked if she was up for visitors.  Her husband went back to work on Wednesday, and she invited me to come on down to Columbus.  It was great getting to "meet" her daughter and she told me all about her birthing story and about what her daughter is like.  She is one of those gals that I know I will always be friends with--we might not see each other that often, but we can always pick right up where we left off.

On Saturday after work, two of my friends and I were going to meet up to go to a locally owned Italian restaurant, but since it started sleeting, my friend got delayed and didn't make it to the area until 7:30.  Since the Italian restaurant we had chosen closes at 8, we decided that it probably wouldn't be wise to go there and just went to Olive Garden instead.  I love their Italian sodas!!  Afterwards, we hung out at my friend's place and watched Old Boy (directed by Spike Lee), not the original Korean one.  The re-make was almost as messed up as the first one and the major plot twist was still the same, but there were some changes, so it kept us all interested in the film.  In the American version, the motive for why the crime was committed made much more sense, but the Korean version was still better, in my opinion.  Sorry to be vague, but one of my pet peeves is when people spoil stuff.  It happens a lot to me since I work at the movies--customers will sometimes talk to me about movies like I've seen them all and give away stuff, and I don't want to be like that!

Yesterday, I met up with my friend Courtney @ Permeating Purpose and we saw the movie Non-Stop with Liam Neeson.  I didn't really know what the movie was about, but just heard that it was "so good" from several people, so we decided to take a chance on it since there's not very many other movies out right now that we wanted to see.  I didn't know that the whole movie took place on a plane--if so, I would have never watched it because one of my biggest (mostly irrational) fears in life is flying!  I always get laughed at when I tell people this because they tell me, "Seriously!?  You've flown more in your life than anyone else that I know!" It just doesn't really get better for me...it's not about not being in control...It's more related to the fact that I'm afraid of heights and that falling feeling during bad turbulence is the worst.  I was actually glad that I saw the movie though--it hooks you in from the start.  I was glued to my seat because I didn't want to miss of the mystery unraveling or action-packed scenes.
Afterwards, Courtney and I went to Menchies and got some pistachio fro yo, that I'm already craving more of.  We spent hours talking and laughing and just catching up with each other.  Courtney is just one of those people that lifts you up with her positivity--I had a ton of fun!

I swear I a wearing another shirt under my blazer, even though it doesn't look like it--haha!

In other news, I bought a scratch-off lottery ticket and got carded!!  That made me laugh and made my week since I'm now 32!

Meet our first Weekly Wrap Up Co-Host, Melissa from Making Melissa!  If you are interested in co-hosting sometime in the future, please fill out this Google Doc here.  It's free and we would love to have you.
Please make sure if you are linking up with us, you follow Melissa, too!

Weekly Wrap Up Rules 
1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts.
4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

** If you would like to tweet about the link up, feel free to use #weeklywrapup.

Ameliorer la Vie

Sunday Social: My Favorite Pins

March 9, 2014
Today I'm linking up with A Complete Waste of Makeup to share some of my favorite pins with you.

Favorite Outfit Pin:   This outfit is so me!  When I pinned this outfit, one of my classmates even commented on it saying that she could totally picture me wearing this.  I'm drawn to the pinks, love the polish, and prefer studs over dangling earrings.  I opt for jeans whenever I can on my days off because they're comfy and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  Plus, since I have to dress up for work and for subbing, I rarely get the chance to wear jeans, so nowadays jeans are my first choice when I don't have to follow a dress code.  I actually looked for the scarf online so that I could buy it, but they were all sold out.   

Via or Polyvore
Favorite Food Pin: This orecchiette pasta dish is one of my top choices because the recipe is simple and it doesn't take a long time to make.  It also has some fruits (it's still weird to me to call tomatoes fruits!) and veggies mixed in with the pasta, which makes this meal healthier than the types of pasta dishes that I usually eat.  Orecchiette is Italian for "little ears" because that's (kind of) what the pasta resembles.  This type of pasta is very famous in Puglia, which was the region of Italy that I lived in, so the nostalgia factor may be one of the reasons why I picked this pin. :)

Via or Alexandra's Kitchen
Favorite Wedding Pin:  I actually only have a couple of wedding pins because I don't plan on getting married anytime soon!  This one was my fave because I love saving cards from every occasion.  I have some keepsake boxes full of birthday, Christmas, and other cards from various holidays/life events.  Sometimes when I need a little pick-me-up, I look through them and they always bring a smile to my face, so I'd also want to save cards from my wedding (if I ever get married.)  Plus, most wedding cards are really beautiful and I'd want to have them around for a long time to help me remember my special day.

Via or The Art of Simple

Favorite DIY or Craft Pin:  I wouldn't pick these exact colors and would probably spell out another word instead of "love," like "dream" or something, but you get the idea.  I think this would be a nice decoration to have in our living room, and it's not like it would be tough for me to find some empty wine bottles to use. I think that these would also be nice to give away as gifts since they can easily be personalized.

Favorite Quote:  This quote really motivates me when I'm feeling like things are too hard or if I want to give up on something.  It reminds me that I have the power to shape my own destiny and encourages me to keep on working so that I can try to achieve my goals.

Random Pin I Love: Since I studied French in high school and in college and going to France was my first overseas trip, France will always have a special place in my heart.  My trip to France started my travel obsession and studying abroad there for nine months changed my life!


What types of boards do you have on Pinterest?